Array Output: Here it is: 4.6 mWhr of electricity from the sun in 2004. That was a new record! It's even better when you consider that it's all green noise, no pollution and free energy from the sun. Other than putting the money up front for the equipment some ten years ago (and a few warrantee-covered replacements of earlier equipment), the sun has done all the work.

Year kWhrs
1998 4,246
1999 4,508
2000 3,965
2001 4,286
2002 3,669
2003 4,085
2004 4,609
2005 4,462
2006 4,505

Previous Years' Output:

Here's a look at the last eight year's output from our array. I'm still hunting down several of the earlier years but the table on the right should give you a fairly decent view of how we've done.

The average yearly array output turns out to be 4.2 MWhrs which is a fine statement on behalf of our house.

The White House goes solar! ...thanks to our architect, Steven Strong.

That's Steven standing on the White House cabana roof with the Old Executive Office Building in the background. Read all about it.

The history of the installation is that Steven had been working with the National Park Service for some time, so it was not a 'sudden conversion' on the part of the primary resident in the White House.

While it may be feel smug to poke fun at this situation, how many of us have actually made a commitment to go solar? Talking about and supporting solar doesn't make much of a difference, only installing solar does.

Sign at a solar installation near our home!

It's such a simple concept: use free energy from the sun and our nation's energy security can not be challenged nor will OPEC's policies result in our armed forces being put in harm's way. If only the politicians could think that simply. This farm site has four great trackers keeping the 4.5 kW array always facing the sun.

Newer Trace Inverters: Our inverter was replaced in September, 2001, with two new Trace Sun Tie inverters. They were then upgraded on September 30, 2002 with the XR versions of Sun Tie. Check it out.

Connecticut PBS Visit: A production team from CTPBS spent an entire day at our home in November, 2002.

Seen here is our architect, Steven Strong, being interviewed by producer/director Jennifer Boyd.

I, too, was taped for this series and ended driving the television crew to Solar Market where I filled up my VW with biodiesel. This series on sustainable living will be aired on Connecticut Public Television early in 2003, and will then be offered to PBS as a possible series for national distribution.

VW Diesel: I now have a VW Beetle. I've been using 100% biodiesel from Solar Market during the late spring, summer and early fall. It works fine and is a soybean oil product. That means I can drive anywhere without using any petroleum fuel. I drove 6,088 miles during the 100% bioD period and got 45.4 mpg overall - that includes air conditioning use as well. I've gotten as high as 56 mpg on long trips. Oh, I do have a new vanity plate - BIO BUG. One of my neighbors has BIO DIEZL. Enthusiasm for biodiesel is catching!

The smiling feminine faces are from VW Driver Magazine...their story about our home and pictures of BIO BUG are now in the fall edition of the magazine. Cathy and Nina spent a full day with us and enjoyed our town's local fare - lobster and clams.

Welcome Hawaii: Hawaii became the 34th state to enact net metering legislation in June of 2001, with a modest but significant measure that is likely to spur significant commercialization for solar electric and small wind systems, in part because Hawaii has the highest retail utility rates in the country (as much as 25 cents/kWh) and in part because Hawaii has excellent, consistent solar and wind energy resources [from Tom Starrs]. Check your state.

History Channel Broadcast: A television crew from The History Channel spent time here in August, taping interviews with Steven Strong, our architect, and yours truly. The program was aired on December 5, 2000. Our solution for harvesting the sun's energy for electricity and hot water was the conclusion of a detailed description of how electrical power was invented, grew, and now is one of the insatiable addictions of the western world. The show treated solar power as a reasonable and partial solution to global warming.

It can be purchased from The History Channel by calling 1 800 708-1776 - ask for #43060 -- Modern Marvels: Power Plants. The word is spreading that solar power works and can help reduce our dependence on dirty and limited fossil fuels. Here on the left, I'm being asked to explain net metering to The History Channel crew. 

Home & Garden TV Here! Yes, solar power was a star again! A crew from the Home & Garden show "Dream Builders" spent time video taping the house and asking the right questions in October, 2000. Here, on the left, is host Scott Morgan walking his viewers through our solar basement. It was shown in December and will continue to be shown throughout the coming years.

Here's what Scott had to say about their visit to our home: "We are looking at the future of power supply and sustainable building in America. Hopefully, with a little exposure, this sort of innovative technology will become the norm. Send your show ideas to And thanks to Debbi and Bill for letting us invade your beautiful home!"

Visit: We had a visit in November from Winslow Management Company of Boston - a firm that invests exclusively in environmentally effective companies. President Jack Robinson (seen on the far right) brought a crew to photograph the house and learn in person about solar homes that are harvesting the sun's energy every day of the year.

As you can see by the jackets, the weather is getting a little nippy but the south facing slope of the land kept us comfortable even though the thermometer was hovering around 32 degrees.

We continue to welcome guests who express an interest in solar power. What better way to spread the word? We also try to book clear skies whenever any photography is scheduled. The weather has been fairly cooperative, as it was on this day...nothing like puffy clouds above the house to make a photographer happy.

Guess Who? The house on the right is not ours but one of our most famous summer residents. In fact, this house and its location draw tourists to our area by the busload. One additional hint, it has secret service protection.

By now, you've probably guessed that the solar thermal panels on the roof belong to former president George Bush and his wife - that's their summer home at the ocean's edge in Kennebunkport. The panels can only be seen from the water side.

During the summer months, the flagpole on the front lawn displays a large American flag and when the former president's two sons are visiting, the Texas and Florida flags can be seen as well.

May, 2000 - Thirty Austrian Architects Visit:  The day was sunny and the visitors from the Danube University of Krems, Austria, were smiling as they visited our solar house. The university offers a postgraduate education degree in the field of Solar Architecture. All students are working architects seeking to learn the advantages of solar design. Each year the students travel the world to inspect various solar installations. Ours was one of many American projects they visited. They were a great group...anxious to learn why so few people in the United States embrace solar architecture (that's a whole course in itself) and pleased to find those who do. As they left, one of the group said, "Thank you for building this house." My pleasure.

2000 Event: I attended the Building Energy 2000 Conference, sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, at Yale University on March 16, 2000. I participated in a session on getting the word out to the public about solar energy. My bottom line was that there is a free lunch in the renewable energy world. In fact, there is a free dinner too. What costs is the expensive breakfast. Once you've paid for the equipment (breakfast), the rest of your meals are essentially free!

1999 Update: We harvested 4,508 kWh of power from the sun in 1999 giving us an annual surplus of 352 kWh! Check out the numbers for 1998 and 1999.

National Solar Home Tour Oct. 16, '99: This was our first group from nearby Gorham, Maine. As you can see, there are some early adopters (age wise) in this group. It was a glorious day with solar tanks heating up to 165 degrees and the PV panels putting out maximum wattage...just what solar power is all about.

Solar Capital of the World!: Yes, Maine was the "cat's meow" during the month of June, 1999 as the American Solar Energy Society held its annual convention in Portland...and I got to speak about "Living Well with Solar in Maine."

It was an impressive gathering. Most notable was Steven Strong's answer (my architect) to the question about pv payback? "Engineers in Switzerland have meticulously attempted to measure the electrical output of asphalt shingles and other conventional roofing material, " he noted. "Because there is no current flowing, there appears to be no payback on most roofs throughout the world...unlike a solar roof," he concluded with a sly grin.

1999 ASES Tour: Fifty ASES convention attendees toured solar homes in our area. They were from all over the country...several other countries were also represented. They saw straw bale construction, a stand alone home, and three utility intertie buildings. Our famous Maine fog lifted just in time for the sun to do its thing with our pv and solar thermal panels. It was a full day for the tour group...and a fine opportunity to show what Maine is doing with solar power.

1999 Women in Photovoltaics: A group of twenty women visited our home before the ASES convention. They then jointly constructed a PV project under the supervision of my neighbor, Peter Talmage. Here in Peter's barn the group learns about specific equipment and electrical theory. Peter and his partner, Naoto Inoue of Talmage Solar Engineering, will also be speaking at the conference.

1999 Media Coverage: We made the cover of Home Power Magazine last spring. You really should subscribe, but while you're waiting you can access their site. TIME Magazine Online has selected our architect, Steven Strong, as a "Hero for the Planet." Check out the article. And EVWorld interviewed me about our house. That article along with a RealAudio file is also available.

1999 Backup System: We've added a battery-operated backup system in case of complete grid failure. Check it out. Y2K problems were absent in our state, though the system was ready for any power disruption. It came in handy recently when a truck hit a pole on our route, cutting off grid power for several hours. The backup system flawlessly switched on during the neighborhood blackout and then off when grid power was restored.

1999 Maine PUC Adopts a New Annualized Net Metering Policy: A progressive, simpler and more effective net metering policy has been finalized by our Public Utilities Commission in response to input from concerned citizens. Check out the new policy and how it came about. It's a new millennium for renewable energy in our state. "As Maine goes, so goes the nation?"